Arren Williams is the name, and I'm a stylist, editor and trend reporter. You'll catch my work regularly popping up in print in the likes of the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. I'm also a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and you can occasionally find me on HGTV as well as on ABC 7 News in Chicago.

To keep things fun I've tapped a couple of friends - Julia Black and Jenn Hannotte - to contribute their views on design too. Enjoy!


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Entries in handmade (7)


West Elm and Etsy's love-in

Hey there. Yep, I know I've been barely hanging around here recently (I'm blaming it on a combo of being blisteringly busy with work, travelling to both New York and Chicago within the past couple of weeks, oh, and getting kinda sick too), but here's something that you guys can really sink your teeth into>>>

West Elm's Toronto store will be hosting an Etsy We Heart Handmade Art pop-up event curated by Fieldguided - that's her smashing carryall pictured below - which'll feature a slew of other local Etsy craftspeople, as well as promising both drinks and tunes. I was in the store yesterday and they were being busy bees getting prepped and clearing space for what promises to be a very busy Saturday. All the deets are below, and yep, Bookhou (a local design fave of mine) will be there with lots of gorgeous gear, including the pillows and artwork pictured below, too.

I'm hoping to make it, but might be entirely exhausted after participating in our mega local neighbourhood yard sale (shout out to everyone who lives in The Pocket!).


{that one great thing} Jan's handmade frame

I once had a landlord who mentioned that old chestnut, You scratch my back, I scratch yours while I was signing a lease, and delightfully went on to say You kick me, I kick you. Memorable, yes, but not exactly charming, so the first part - definitely not the second - came to mind when Jan Halvarson of Poppytalk kindly asked if she could grab the shot and story from Susie Sheffman's *that one great thing* pick to post on her fantastic blog. I said of course, and then proceeded to bug her into contributing one in return. So here goes!

Jan Halvarson: I have fond memories of my Swedish grandfather whittling away on a chair outside in the back deck on warm summer days. I would be playing in the yard, and he would watch me and whittle away. He made this frame, and I really don't even know the back story, nor does anyone else, but it's just always been around, following me everywhere I go; always there. And as I write this I'm realizing how profound that is. I remember it having three hearts, and I'm sure at one point there were four, but now only two remain. I love how he painted them gold, and left the rest. It's housed a favourite black and white photograph of my mother, at times my drawings and right now I love it best just left as is. Without even knowing it until now, it could very well be the inspiration to why I love handmade so much today.

In the photograph the frame is shown with a collection of found driftwood I wrapped a bit of yarn around and a crochet covered rock from artist Margie Oomen.


Rainbow rabbits, and other stuff

I have been so behind the 8 ball this week. You know how it is, you come back from vacation and there's a traffic jam of work to wade through. Well, that went out the window yesterday morning as I took time out to check in on the just-opened One of A Kind show.

There was scads of great stuff to see, so here are just a few faves from me. First up, the incredibly sweet felt creatures from Cristina Larsen of Textile Platypus, who makes the felt, hand-dyes it, then stitches each little fellow by hand. Next, Lost Nation had fun with their Humane Antlers as well as these cool carved moustaches. I totally heart all of the hemp and organic linen tea towels from Freshly Printed, their snow-shoe design was a standout for me. Menswear brand Identity stepped out of t-shirts and into these screenprinted wool blanket pillows. More great tea towels, of course from the lovely Avril Loreti (whose calendar tea towel is a certified blog hit!). And finally, an '&' pillow craftily made from vintage clothing by Hilary Cosgrove.


Getting my craft on

I spent this a.m. running around at the One of a Kind show in Toronto. It's quite the craft-tastic institution and always a great one-stop-shop to check out what's new on the handmade scene, and as usual, I scored a few great finds (while gabbing with Julia Black, lol).

Up first, I'm loving the petite and edgy hand-embroidered artwork by Amanda Hu of Denture Thief Productions (read more on Amanda here). Next, the sweetly sketched packaging of Honey Pie Hives and Herbals, designed by one of Honey Pie's co-owners, Bay Woodward. Repeat, a collaboration between Roisin Fagan and Arounna Khounnoraj, resulted in a great line of hand-printed textiles, as well as these charming teensy notebooks (that were printed last night!). And finally, Jardinique's Garden Chair - inspired by this Rietveld chair - which looks smashing in all white (though you can order it in any Benjamin Moore exterior Aura paint colour), it also comes as a rocker and has an accompanying side table too.


The forecast is grey and cool

Well looky-loo, my mate Bev Hisey has finally got with the technological times and opened the doors on her online store. It's filled with a special selection of best sellers of her handmade wool and wool blend pillows, blankets and carpets, as well as a few super snazzy web exclusives too. I'm such a fan of Bev's gear and think she has such a singular way with colour and pattern. I also know how hard she works both physically and creatively on everything she turns her hand too, and yep, of course I've posted about her before (you can see more of her stuff right here). Oh, and while you're noodling around her site be sure to check out In The Woods At Night. It's Bev's latest hand-knotted wool carpet inspired by one of her grandmother's paintings and tagged - of course - with the socially conscious RugMark label, though it's Pippin, the beyond beautiful owl, that (almost) steals the shot by photographer Donna Griffith.

Below you'll spot a few of my all-in-grey current design crushes from Bev's online store. The River Rock carpet and throw, and the slightly punky and random Flocked Letter pillow.